Friday 20 November 2020

Wallace Coffee Talks - 1st December 2020

 Wallace Coffee Talks - Autumn 2020

1st December - 12pm - Online (Zoom)

Fancy a cup of coffee or tea and learning more about the researchers at Swansea university? Come join us at the Wallace coffee talks: an informal seminar series where students, staff and others related to Swansea university speak about their research or personal interests.

Nathan Thomas
The basic biology and biotechnology applications of the photosynthetic flatworm Symsagittifera roscoffensis 
Symsagittifera roscoffensis or more commonly known as the mint source worm, is an Acoel in the phylum Xenacoelomorpha (previously Platyhelminthes). Symsagittifera roscoffensis gets its common name due to its vivid green colour, this colour is a result of symbiosis with the algae Tetraselmis Convoluta. Symbiosis means that all of the nutritional needs of these organisms are met by the photosynthetic activity of the algae. While S. roscoffensis are present at multiple locations within Europe, they only occur at one location within the UK. The scientific literature is sparse on key details that allow us to fully understand these organisms. My PhD focuses on understanding the basic biology, symbiotic interactions and behavioral aspects of these worms. Join me for this coffee talk where we will discuss the key research topics of my PhD and some preliminary data. 

Hywel Evans  
Fungal functional traits: their structure and role in ecological processes 
Fungi are critical components of terrestrial ecosystems. They recycle nutrients, create habitats, support plant communities, provide food for a wide variety of invertebrates and vertebrates and act as catalysts for Carbon and Nitrogen cycles. Fungi are ubiquitous in nature, but large parts of their life histories are unseen and difficult to quantify. The occasional fruiting body of some fungi alerts us to their presence, but the largest part of a fungus is the network of microscopic filaments called hyphae which it uses to burrow into its substrate. Advancements in molecular biology and high-throughput sequencing, has allowed us to study fungi in more detail, but due to their enormous diversity and often-large intra-specific variation, this still comes with its own set of challenges. Functional trait ecology can help us overcome some of these challenges. Functional trait ecology aims to examine characteristics, rather than individual species to help us better understand the fungal community. This approach is already prevalent in plant ecology, but for fungi it is still in its infancy. My research will consist of a meta-analysis of fungal functional traits, specifically looking at functional traits in the wood decomposing basidiomycetes, helping us to understand patterns in species assembly in wood decay communities and relationships between key traits.